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“Tikverőzés” Ritual in Moha – Masked Carnival Tradition

15. 8. 2014


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The Chicken-hitting tradition is connected to the last day of the Carnival season, also known as Shrove Tuesday. Young men in the village of Moha (in Fejér County, west-central Hungary) gather together, put on traditional masks and costumes, and proceed from house to house soliciting donations of food.

On their way they soot the faces of the people they meet. The name ‘Tikverőzés’ refers to the tradition of bringing bounty to and enhancing the fertility and prosperity of the families of the village by symbolically hitting the bottoms of chickens with a stick to hasten their egg laying. The custom has been inscribed on the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Hungary in 2011.

Locality Moha, Fejér County Hungary
Time Shrove Tuesday (last day of the Carnival season)
History (cyclicality) Over a 100-year-old tradition repeated annually
Organizer Local government
Realisation team Locals, mostly young men between the age of 14 and 20
Target group Locals and inhabitants of neighbouring settlements; in recent years also children groups who are brought to Moha by buses
Traditional culture elements
Masks and costumes, the ash, the chicken and the egg are traditional, ritual elements of the custom. The most unique costume is that of the clown figure, who wears colourful strips of rags. The name ’Tikverőzés’ (’Chicken-hitting’) refers to the tradition of bringing bounty to and enhancing fertility and prosperity for the families of the village by symbolically hitting the bottoms of chickens with a stick at the houses they visit to hasten their egg laying.
Ethnographic criterion lthough forms of the tradition were indigenous to other parts of the country as well, it has been preserved here in Moha up to this day thanks to the conscious safeguarding effort and transmission within the community. The younger generation’s active participating is an important factor in the subsistence of the local carnival tradition. Safeguarding is also supported by the local governmental and local non-governmental organisation.
Environmental criterion The event draws tourists to the village, which is important for the economy of the region.
Cultural-historical criterion The custom of ’tikverőzés’ is a continuous tradition, practiced and passed on by the all-time youth of Moha every year. The symbolic rituals, masquerades and pranks– some kept unbeknownst to outsiders – are passed on from one generation to the next.
Aesthetic criterion Handmade costumes and masks are prepared by the participants or handed down by father to son.
Ethical criterion There is no ethical problem.
Psychological criterion This is the most significant annual event of the people of Moha. Going around the houses of the village, and the way in which tradition is passed down from generation to generation strengthens the local community and identity. Inhabitants of Moha consciously try to keep this tradition alive.

Photos by © Zsolt Szilágyi


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